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The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

Main health issues affecting young people today are linked either to behavior or an unprotected environment. They include, among others, injuries from accidents, health problems due to tobacco and substance abuse, lacking physical exercise, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, Malaria and Ebola. Additionally, mental health is increasingly gaining recognition as a major problem affecting youth globally - suicide and depression are alarmingly common among youth in both urban and rural environments.

Young people often encounter barriers in accessing health services. Many health facilities don’t offer confidential and youth-friendly services where young people feel comfortable seeking care. Additionally, many young people don’t have the financial means to seek care on their own, and restrictive laws and policies in many countries require a parent’s written permission to access services.

Too many young people aren't aware of specific health risks or how and where they can access appropriate health services and information. This situation calls for intensified efforts to increase awareness among youth!

Researching issues connected to health, you might want to check out these resources:

World Health Organization - Adolescent Health

United Nations Population Fund - Young People

Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS - Goals on HIV/AIDS

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